FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A judge on Tuesday raised the bond for a man accused of sexually assaulting several children, then fleeing the country, to $750,000 after requests from the family and friends of some of his alleged victims.
Eighth Judicial District Judge Susan Blanco gave 27-year-old Andrew Vanderwal the new bond after saying she was “not educated enough” when she previously set Vanderwal’s bond at $100,000.
Vanderwal is a former volunteer hockey coach who was arrested in Mexico in February after being on the run from Larimer County authorities for more than a year after he failed to appear in court on charges related to the sex assault case.
Some family members of the victims said they weren’t informed of Vanderwal’s previous bond hearing and were upset. Several packed the courtroom Tuesday to argue why Vanderwal should receive the highest bond possible under federal and state law.
One of the family members told the court that she had to track Vanderwal down herself in Mexico after authorities failed to do so, and spoke again about how Vanderwal gained the trust of hockey parents to groom victims.
The father of one of the boys asked the judge to hold Vanderwal without bond, saying he was a flight risk and that victims and their families shouldn’t have to worry about him being out in public.
Vanderwal’s public defender, who was appointed in recent days, told the court he had “significant concerns” about Vanderwal’s mental health, and said he would ask the judge to order a competency evaluation. But he said a $1 million bond, as one victim’s family member suggested, would be “over the top.”
In the end, Judge Blanco acknowledged Vanderwal’s constitutional right to not be held with excessive bond, and set his new bond at $750,000. Should he post the bond, he will have to wear a GPS monitor, and will not be allowed contact with children under age 18. She also acknowledged that a mental health evaluation would be likely.
Another hearing is scheduled for later this week.